Graphic design jobs in Berlin

43 posts in this topic

Posted

I am an American graphic designer permanently living in Berlin and looking for work.

I am registered with Finanzamt Mitte and have an unrestricted work permit from the Ausländerbehörde, so I am legally available for any employment.

I'm open for freelance or permanent, part-time or full-time, in-house or from-home assignments. Does anyone here have suggestions of where I might apply or advertise, or of anyone who might be looking to hire?

I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks!

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Posted

Hi

I don't have any advice but did wonder how you were getting along with your search. I'm looking to move to Berlin in the next couple of months and work in the same arena.

be great to know...

Deborah

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Posted

Hey guys. So one of the best places to get decent design jobs in Berlin is Designer Dock. Obviously with some jobs they have you need some amount of German but with a lot of jobs you don't need any. I know a handful of people in Berlin who have got great jobs and well paid jobs at that with them. I think they said Designer Dock take 10% of your wages, not sure the full details. I'm a Graphic Designer myself from Dublin but I work for some people back there so I haven't gone down that road yet but my mates give them the thumbs up. Best of luck.

http://www.designerdock.de/en

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Posted

Thanks for the Designer Dock link ...

You could also check out Aquent here http://www.aquent.de/home/index.htm

They're a temp agency specialising in Marketing and Graphic Design jobs; I worked for them back in Australia and they're really, really good people to work for, the money is usually good, etc etc. Unfortunately there is no Berlin office, from memory there's one in München and Amsterdam who might be able to source some work in Berlin.

I often wondered how hard it would be to get a design job in Berlin without good German language skills. I'm working up to my B1 exam in a few weeks but even after that, I'm thinking it won't be enough. And anyway, I'd be happy enough working in a bar or kitchen and using any creative energy for my own stuff ...

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Posted

Hey guys. So one of the best places to get decent design jobs in Berlin is Designer Dock. Obviously with some jobs they have you need some amount of German but with a lot of jobs you don't need any.

http://www.designerdock.de/en

Hmmm! I wrote to them and got a reply that said that I would need to speak fluent German! In fact I found the person quite rude in the brush off and having previously written to them asking about the language issue I wasn't wholly impressed with the service. Certainly won't be relying on them or recommending them.

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Posted

First of all, I have to say that Designer Dock is run by a bunch of assholes.

I wrote to them, introducing myself and explaining that I have over 15 years experience in graphic design and that I'm at the B2.2 level of German. Their response was that I would need to know German to get a job here and that I'm too old to work as a designer. So, at 47 I'm to old. It didn't seem to be a problem in San Francisco where I had plenty of work.

I've applied with Aquent and other agencies, including the Arbeitsagentur and got nothing. Finally, I started networking and picked up a few freelance jobs. I've also started working as a part-time gardener, which I love.

My experience has been that you need to be creative and flexible in finding work, and ignore the rude and rigid assholes here with the "it's impossible" attitude.

Good luck!

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Posted

That crap Mike. I have heard some stories like this about them even from one of my mates who ended up getting a job with them. I think she was just lucky and maybe a bit persistant with them and I think a job in English came up at the time when she applied and now she doesn't really have to deal with them. Hope you have better luck. Think its great you are doing something else though, gardening. Same myself, not getting enough design work so have been doing other things just to stay in Berlin and enjoy living here.

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Posted

First of all, I have to say that Designer Dock is run by a bunch of assholes.

Yes, that is certainly the impression I got and that was just from the exchange of a few emails. I'll try Aquent - but generally I have little faith in recruitment agencies of any description. They are all useless arseholes - oh how they've strived to become as despised as estate agents!

Networking is strong point of mine so hopefully I'll get by with that! Perhaps you'll have time for a coffee when I get there.

Thanks

Deborah

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Posted

Deborah,

I'd love to meet you for a cup of coffee when you get here.

Good luck with your job search. Remember that it just takes more work here.

Mike

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Posted

Well, I'm here in Berlin BECAUSE of Designerdock. They were very helpful, friendly and informative about the status of my application. I'm now working at a large agency as a conceptual/ copywriter. My German? very average, nowhere near fluent..aber, besser jeder tag..ich denke!

Also, check purple, major players, the guardian and other agencies in London. Also, two VERY good websites, Brand Republic and Creative Pool both list jobs in Germany. Failing that, pitch the agencies and just be ballsy, ask for 10 minutes of time to show your portfolio.

All the best

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Posted

I'd love to meet you for a cup of coffee when you get here.

Mike

Cool I'll send you a message (and anyone else interested in lending me their advise) when I've finalised my plans to visit at the end of the month.

Well, I'm here in Berlin BECAUSE of Designerdock. They were very helpful, friendly and informative about the status of my application. I'm now working at a large agency as a conceptual/ copywriter.

We'll I guess if you needed copy in English they'd want English mother tongue copywriter :) We have a 'Lost In Translation' Award at our Golden Ducks Alternative Design & Communication Awards especially for companies that are guilty of bad translations of corporate strap lines and suck like - like the radio ad for Fortis Bank that said "because we know expats have special needs!" Now as a Brit I can tell you using 'Special Needs' was a massive faux pas!

Know all that places that you mentioned, I do keep an eye out but I guess the market at the moment has a lot to answer for.

Best regards

Deborah

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Posted

Dear Friends,

First and foremost, I'd like to wish Happy New Year to you all.

I've read this topic, and since the subject is very relevant to me, I would like to ask you whether you think I have a chance of surviving in Berlin. Berlin has always been a city close to my heart, and I've already been there many times. Although the idea you get as a tourist is probably slightly different than what you actually have to go through when you live somewhere as a foreigner, I would still like to try my luck, and live there.

The story goes like this: my boyfriend and I are both design students. He's recently graduated from the Polytechnic University of Milan in Industrial Design (B. Des) and I'm about to graduate from the same university in Graphic Design in July. He's currently doing his Master's degree at the same university, specializing in Design & Engineering.

I would like to ask you whether you think we stand a chance in finding a job in Berlin with the professions we have or going to have. I don't know if it's relevant, but I'm 25 and he's 30. I know that a lot of it depends on the quality of the work we'll do, but I'm more interested in your opinion market-wise. Is there a market in Berlin for Industrial and Graphic designers?

Thank you.

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Posted

Hi Everyone,

my name is Alexander Dewhirst and I've just discovered this forum and think it's great. I'm the founder and manager of Designerdock Berlin and would like to let you know a few things before you get the wrong impression about us. We're a contact agency for recruitment in the communication industry and try to help as many people get jobs and contracts as possible. We can't find jobs for everyone (even if they can speak fluent German), but we try. The creative industries in Germany aren't quite as international as those in say Amsterdam or Copenhagen, where English and the local language are are equally useful. A lot of our clients - creative agencies as well as client side marketing departments - need German speakers because their business language is German and it's a lot of work keeping a non-german speaker in the loop. Especially account managers and project managers are required to speak German. Designers (online, corporate, advertising..) can sometimes get away with not speaking German. And on the other hand, there are some of our clients who love to have non-german speakers so they can practice their English (which makes it difficult for our candidates to learn German...).

We get lots of applications each day (about 100) to all of our 8 offices around Germany and in Vienna and Zurich, and we have to send rejection mails to at least 40% of them, not because we enjoy it, but because we honestly don't think we can help them find a job. Those whom we might be able to help are invited in for an interview and we consult them (for free of course) on the best positioning and portfolio arrangement.

Like most recruitment agencies, applicants apply via our website - there's a English version of our application form as well as a German one. You can check our website for details of how we work (contracts and all are visible there). Basically it doesn't cost anything to become a "designerdocker". If we find you a permantent position your new employer pays us for the service, and if we find you freelance jobs you pay us a 10% commission. Simple as that. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions (alexander at designerdock.de ). Most of our staff speak pretty good English so we can answer your mails and calls in English.

Hope that helps.

Alexander

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Posted

Alexander, don't forget to tell them that they have to be under 40 to apply.

Here is the response I received from Designerdock as to why they couldn't use me:

Thank you very much for your interest and CV and work samples, but unfortunately we can't help you to find a job.

We have to follow the strict guidelines of our clients to find suitable candidates for the positions they want to fill.

Unfortunately, your profile doesn't quite match these guidelines.

...your age (this is not a nice argument, I know, but our clients prefer younger people as designers)

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Posted

Hi Mike,

sorry if our personnel manager's reply was too undiplomatic. We have quite a few "over-40s" in our files whom we haven't been able to help, and taking on even more would firstly be unfair to those we've already interviewed, and secondly a waste of time for all involved.

yes, it's true. The industry - expecially agency-side - here is even more obsessed with keeping the age of new employees low than in English-speaking countries (but let's face it, where is it easy for a say 52-year-old graphic designer to get into an agency?). We don't like it and regularly send over candidate profiles where the applicants are older than the agency might like. It doesn't usually get a positive response.

One of the main reasons why agencies here don't like taking on older employees is the irregular (some might say "exploitative") hours worked in many agencies here. Most mature creatives don't put up with working until 10pm every second night, especially if they have a family or simply have other priorities in life. Younger employees put up with it, for a time anyway.

The other main reason for the age-discrimination, in my opinion, is that many older employees expect to earn more money each year, even though they're not willing to put in the hours of their younger (cheaper) collegues. So in terms of flexibility and cost young employees are often more attractive to prospective employers. Off the top of my head, I can think of other reasons, like a preference for promoting a current employee to a higher position rather than "importing" mature applicants who might already have another company culture branded into them. Or that a 35-year-old agency owner doesn't want to have a 45-year-old employee who perhaps knows better...

Once again, we'd love to help all our applicants regardless of age or gender. We try our best but it is impossible to make everyone happy.

Alexander Dewhirst

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Posted

Thanks Dessa!

When I first moved to Berlin I honestly couldn't believe the agism I found here. I expected Germany to have a more socialistic, workers-rights environment than in the states.

When I moved to Philadelphia and then to San Francisco, I found good agency work within weeks. No one cared about age, just whether or not one could do the job. Twenty year olds worked together with 50 year olds. It was completely a non-issue. In several of my gigs I worked with designers who were much older than I was and they were often the best and most professional in the group. While some of the younger employees were coming in hungover from parties and clubbing, or having relationship problems, or making mistakes normal for someone who doesn't yet have experience, the older ones simply came in on time, did the job, worked the same late hours as everyone else and kept their cool under pressure. In other words, they were responsible, experienced professionals.

Like you, I think that it's a mistake to automatically equate age with a certain attitude or lifestyle. It's not exactly as if I'm sitting around in a rocking chair.

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Posted

Hey all. Found this thread through a Google search... I've been searching for a job in web design and development since last week and this info scares me because I'm 40! :( Making such assumptions about a person's lifestyle and work habits based on their age is so unbelievably unfair. I hope I don't end up experiencing this kind of discrimination in my quest for a job. I will be sure to AVOID Designerdock!

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Posted

Working in web development might be a benefit as it seems like there are a lot of web-related jobs out there. Don't start buying into the typical mentality here and don't give up. It's taken me longer than I had anticipated but I'm finding decent work by not just sticking to the usual channels. Be creative and good luck!

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